Shown above: South Okanagan community impact team – left to right: Greg McGowan, Jeff Kruck, Jude Brunt, Ian Teetzel, Tammy Tanner
September 11, 2019 (Southern Interior) – This week, United Way announced grants of over $620k from the Community Fund for 80 vital programs delivered by 54 unique charities across the Southern Interior including Central, South & North Okanagan, Similkameen, Columbia & Shuswap area. These investments will help improve the lives of 85,000+ or almost 1 in 4 of our regional population throughout the next year, from babies to seniors all of whom are facing a wide range of social challenges.
United Way’s Community Fund investments respond directly to the most pressing needs in our community and provide funding to programs and services designed to help the most vulnerable local kids, families, individuals and seniors get back on their feet. Many of the charities that United Way funds do not have any full time fundraising staff of their own and rely on United Way grants, amongst others, to keep their programs running.
Examples of United Way investments include providing baby essentials for low income moms, counselling for youth in crisis, support for survivors of sexual abuse, outdoor recreation for people with disabilities, resources for women fleeing intimate partner violence, healthy breakfasts for school children, and trauma counselling for people overcoming addictions.
“At United Way, we really do our homework through the Community Fund grant process to ensure our donor dollars are invested wisely and make an impact,” says Jude Brunt, United Way Manager of Community Investments. “Our deep understanding of community priorities allows us to support partner charities while ensuring that there’s no duplication of services. Our Community Fund, which is oversubscribed by at least 35% annually, provides local support to local vulnerable people who need it most. We need to dig deep this year and next to meet the needs of the community and address these local issues.”
In total, United Way invested $1.9 million in our communities from the Community Fund, Social Enterprise Fund, Child Safety Initiative, provincially-funded Better at Home seniors support program, and various other local initiatives. These 2019 investments will enable vulnerable people in 32 local communities to help build a better life. This year, several new charities have been awarded funding from the Community Fund including Kelowna & District Share Society, Freedoms Door, Recope, Childhood Connections, Lake Country Health Planning Society and the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Centre. All have excellent programs and can breathe a little easier knowing a little more consistency of funding is provided.
“Government funded services can fall short of what many people need to make a full recovery from an old injury or to maintain their mental well-being and independence in the community,” says Jean Munro, Executive Director of Recope Society in Summerland. “When local community organizations like Recope receive funding from the United Way, we are able to fill some of those gaps by providing affordable wellness education for all, a place for social support networks to flourish, especially among seniors, and by organizing volunteer resources.”
These investments are only made possible thanks to generous donations from each community. From workplace donors to generous individuals and corporate sponsors. Thanks to teams of trained community volunteers who visit with each charity applicant, United Way does its due diligence to ensure that every dollar is invested wisely, sustainably and for maximum local impact.
“Year after year, we continue to find more organizations trying to find ways of supporting the needs in our community,” says Susan McIntyre, leadership donor and impact team leader with United Way SIBC. “ There is always a gap between the funds that are raised and the funds that are needed. I support the United Way SIBC because they make sure that every dollar goes to organizations that are doing good in the community and working collaboratively across all not-for-profits. The United Way works hard to build capacity and ensure that your dollars are used wisely and effectively.”
Despite growing wealth in our communities, there remains shocking needs. 1 in 5 children and youth are still living in poverty in the Okanagan, over 500 people are without a safe place to call home in Kelowna and 75% of children are not receiving the mental health support they need either through lack of resources of lack of accessibility. Poverty still stands as the root cause of most of these issues. United Way hopes to make these kind of deep social issues #UNIGNORABLE this year, as a part of their Fall giving campaign which will be launched at their sold-out annual kickoff breakfast this Friday.
Join us as we kick-off the 2019 United Way Campaign and show your local love by giving back to your community. On September 13, almost 300 local donors, community leaders, partner charities and corporate sponsors will gather for the annual fundraising campaign kickoff breakfast in Kelowna, followed by the South Okanagan campaign kickoff at the Penticton Lakeside Resort Drive Thru on September 26 and the North Okanagan Kickoff Reception, September 19 hosted by Bannister Honda. These events mark the official start of the 2019-2020 workplace campaigns engaging thousands of employees in special events and other fundraising activities that fuel over 65% of the United Way Community Fund annually.
For the full list of Community Fund investments, visit: http://unitedwaysibc.com/how-we-help/.
About United Way SIBC:
United Way SIBC serves 32 communities in the Okanagan, Columbia, Shuswap and Similkameen region, including Revelstoke and Golden in the North, to Osoyoos and Princeton in the South. Each year, over 85,000 residents in this region benefit directly from United Way initiatives, which focus on supporting kids, moving people from poverty to possibility and building strong, healthy communities. For more information about our community impact and investments, visit: www.unitedwaysibc.com or call 250-860-2356.